Dr. Justin Weinbaum is a Research Assistant Professor, Departments of Bioengineering and Pathology, University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Weinbaum obtained his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and obtained his PhD in Molecular Cell Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri. He conducted his postdoctoral training in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.
Dr. Weinbaum’s long-term research interests focus on extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling in the context of vascular tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. His current projects in the Vascular Bioengineering Laboratory concern the development of a stem cell-based, tissue-engineered vascular graft and preventing pathologic ECM remodeling during aortic aneurysm progression.
Multiple opportunities for collaboration are available for future lines of research. Broadly, Dr. Weinbaum employs a “cell-centered” approach for tissue engineering that exploits the cell-instructive properties of molecules in the native ECM known as matricellular proteins. Potential topics of interest include:
Designing novel degradable scaffolds functionalized with matricellular protein domains to guide the behavior of host cells (adhesion, migration, differentiation, remodeling)
Using cellular “reporter” technologies to optimize ECM remodeling in the context of a dynamic chemical/mechanical environment (e.g. varying growth factors, stretching regimes)
Improving decellularization techniques to preserve an ECM rich in matricellular proteins; thereby enhancing downstream remodeling and recellularization
Modulating growth factor activity in the context of wound healing to reduce scar formation
Establishing three-dimensional models for studying vascular physiology and pathology